Advertisement

Ottawa tries to avoid elimination

By

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., May 21 (UPI) -- The Ottawa Senators try to stay alive Wednesday night in the NHL's Eastern Conference finals against New Jersey.

The Devils return to the Meadowlands after dropping Game Five of the best-of-seven series, 3-1, on Monday in Ottawa. At 8-0, the Devils are the only unbeaten home team in the NHL playoffs. They also are one of two teams that have not lost consecutive postseason games.

Advertisement

"It's all a question of regrouping," said New Jersey Coach Pat Burns. "You can talk about mistakes all you want, but it's a question of are you regrouping the troops and being positive with them and talking about going forward. It's not what we did (Monday) night that makes any difference. It's what we're going to do (Wednesday) night."

The Devils surrendered a pair of third-period goals Monday night, and wasted their first chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in four years.

19-year-old Jason Spezza provided the spark for Ottawa. In his NHL playoff debut, he set up a go-ahead tally by Martin Havlat with 12:01 remaining, then scored the Senators' first power-play goal of the series with 7:32 left.

Advertisement

Spezza helped Ottawa win for the first time in seven tries when facing elimination.

"Going in there, we know it's not going to be easy," said Ottawa goaltender Patrick Lalime. "They have a good team. They play well at home. We're just going to play even a better game."

Lalime's counterpart, Martin Brodeur, is 3-0 with a 0.67 goals-against average following a loss in this year's playoffs. Two of those performances came in elimination games against Boston and Tampa Bay.

Before this year, the Devils' record in putting away opponents had been spotty. They had a chance to win the Stanley Cup on home ice in 2000, but lost Game Five to Dallas. One year later, they squandered another opportunity to wrap up the Stanley Cup Finals at home, losing Game Six to Colorado.

"Playoffs is about inches," Burns said. "It is about breaks, it's about bounces. This is what it is all about. That's what makes it fun. That's what makes it interesting, and that's what makes it a great sport."

If the Senators win Wednesday, they will host Game Seven on Friday night.

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, who are the only other team without consecutive losses this postseason, await the winner of the series after completing a sweep of Minnesota in the Western Conference finals.

Advertisement

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement